World, Middle East

40,000 Muslims pray at Al-Aqsa to mark 1st day of Eid al-Adha

Israeli police assaulted Palestinian worshipers as they entered, according to local sources

Awad Rajoub  | 16.06.2024 - Update : 17.06.2024
40,000 Muslims pray at Al-Aqsa to mark 1st day of Eid al-Adha

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Around 40,000 Palestinians offered Eid al-Adha prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, but there was no festive atmosphere, instead mourning the victims of Israel's ongoing war on the Gaza Strip for over eight months now.

The Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem said in a statement that about 40,000 worshippers performed Eid al-Adha prayers due to the strict closure on worshippers preventing thousands from entering.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that “the (Israeli) occupation forces attacked worshippers on Sunday morning on their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque and as they were leaving it and prevented dozens from entering to perform Eid prayers.”

“In the early morning hours, occupation forces entered the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, checked the identities of the worshippers, obstructed their movement, and prevented many young men from entering forcing them to pray outside the mosque's doors,” it added.

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians performed Eid al-Adha prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank, despite security restrictions imposed by the Israeli army on the entry of worshippers.

Head of the Hebron Endowments Department, Ghassan Al-Rajabi, told Anadolu that “the measures taken by the occupation on Eid Al-Adha aim to prevent Palestinians' access to holy sites, especially the Ibrahimi Mosque."

"Despite all these measures, between 8,000 and 10,000 Palestinians offered Eid al-Adha prayers in the mosque," he added.

Worshippers must pass through military checkpoints and then electronic gates to enter the Ibrahimi Mosque and pray there, according to Anadolu correspondent.

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.

This year's Eid al-Adha holiday comes amid an Israeli continued brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 37,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by the Israeli forces since October last year, most of them women and children, and almost 85,200 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli onslaught, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Ikram Kouachi in Ankara

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